8 Things a Marathon Runner Learned From Training at Flywheel

Kelly Roberts, the funny-girl blogger (and animated face!) behind Run, Selfie, Repeat is known for posting up a storm; she shares her stats, struggles and sweaty selfies from her runs, and most recently, her cross-training rides at Flywheel. But she wasn’t always known as the athletic type. As Roberts gears up to run the Berlin and NYC Marathons this fall, she is also celebrating her one-year FLY-versary today. Here, the self-proclaimed “FLY-addict” shares a hilariously honest list of eight key learnings from embracing athleticism, overcoming grief, and turning up the Torq.

If you’re a naturally athletic person, what you probably don’t understand is how difficult it is for the rest of us to enjoy the dreaded fit-life. I was never an athletic person and it drove me crazy! It wasn’t that I was lazy; I found it incredibly frustrating to see people actually seem like they were enjoying themselves when they worked out! I couldn’t make it to my mailbox without feeling like I was going to die so it infuriated me that running or going to the gym was such a hassle.

Then my life changed when I found myself struggling to grieve the loss of my brother and maintain a healthy body weight after losing more than 75 pounds. I got desperate and I started running. Here’s something no one tells you, working out is only terrible and awful for those first few weeks. Once you hop that hurdle, it actually is fun! (Who knew?!?) Now I’m a serial FLY-addict and weeks away from running my fourth and fifth marathons, The Berlin and New York City Marathons. Struggling to find the inspiration to get active? Here are eight ways to claw to the top of the TorqBoard and fall in love with the fit life.

1. Invest In Yourself.

You may not be able to buy confidence and self esteem, but you can absolutely invest in it. I spent most of my life struggling with my body weight and I literally had to run a marathon to finally love what I saw when I looked in the mirror. Here’s what I’ve learned: feeling confident and proud of yourself because you know how hard you work is one million times more fulfilling than seeing a particular number on a scale.

2. Ask Yourself “What’s At Stake?”

Goals aren’t just great ways to keep yourself accountable; they reinforce what you’re working towards! Set a goal and then attach stakes to them. Flesh out exactly what your goals mean to you and then fight to make it a reality. Don’t just fly, fly with intention. (Woah…That was deep.)

3. Don’t Be Intimidated.

Raise your hand if you’re intimidated by cycling class. I was! All those really fit people… in that dark room…riding at a million sweaty miles an hour? That’s terrifying! It took me months to muster up the courage to give it a try. DON’T BE INTIMIDATED! Everyone has to start somewhere! Remember that it’s going to feel confusing at first but it gets easier! Give yourself five classes before deciding that it isn’t for you. Don’t be intimidated! Just show up.

4. Bring Your Sh*t Into The Stadium.

If I’m having a bad day or if I’m falling into the rabbit hole of grief, I go to Flywheel. This year on my brother’s birthday I called in sick to work because I couldn’t stop crying. Since it was the dead of winter, I wasn’t in the mood to run so I booked a class at Flywheel with Holly Rilinger and it was exactly what I needed. I put my head down, gave it everything I had and even cried my way through a song like a crazy person! But Holly’s energy and inspiring outlook on life was exactly what I needed to help me get through the day. Some people say leave everything at the door but I say drag your sh*t into the room and ride through it. It makes you stronger.

5. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone.

One of the best parts about Flywheel is that they take the guesswork out of indoor cycling. Take a mental note of which numbers feel uncomfortable and impossible to you. Then make it your goal to push past them over the next 3-4 weeks! Define and redefine your best every month. Change lives in discomfort and you’ll never know where actual limits are unless you dare to push past them.

It took me an entire year of FLY-ing and goal setting to go from 314 to 370. (Ironically both with one of my favorite instructors Bree Branker.) Being able to have the numbers for reference makes stepping out of your comfort zone even more gratifying because you can actually see the results!

6. COMPETE!

Compete with yourself! Compete with other people! USE THAT TORQBOARD! The only reason I don’t phone in half of my workouts is because I turn into a competitive monster the second those lights turn off. At the very least, compete with yourself. Find the courage to be a tiny bit stronger than you were yesterday.

7. Bring Your Friends.

MISERY LOVES COMPANY! (Just kidding…kind of…) It’s so much harder to skip a workout if you know someone’s waiting for you. Make it a group thing! When I’m marathon training, I turn into a total run-hole and I rarely have time to see my friends so we all go to Flywheel together! I don’t dread a 5:00 am wakeup call (as much) if I know I get to spend the morning goofing off with my friends.

8. Celebrate Yourself.

Positive affirmations are a one ticket to happy-ville so remember to look in the mirror and name three things you’re proud of every once in a while. Finding the time for a career, friends, relationships, family, AND working out is practically impossible so if you make it happen, you really need to celebrate yourself.

It’s easy to make excuses if you aren’t athletic (I know because I still do it and I run marathons for fun). But give it enough time and once you feel yourself getting stronger, you will regret that you didn’t start sooner.

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Six Tips For Better Napping

The sleep experts say napping done right is good for the brain and our work performance.

But what’s the best way to grab some extra zzz’s during the day? Here are some tips from the experts:

1. Don’t nap too long, especially if it’s a week day and you’re working. Experts warn that the longer the nap, the more likely you’ll wake up groggy, a feeling that can last up to 30 minutes. So what’s the sweet spot to feel the benefits of a nap? As little as 10 to 20 minutes will leave you refreshed, energetic and mentally sharper. On the weekends when alertness is less important, longer naps are ok, but try to avoid ones that last more than an hour so they don’t interfere with nighttime sleep.

2. Avoid napping too close to your bed time. A late nap could interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night. Researchers aren’t sure what exactly the ideal time of day to nap is, but they say the afternoon – roughly 1 to 4 p.m. – is when our body’s circadian rhythms make us most likely to feel sleepy. (Tell that to the boss!)

3. Napping can be done anywhere where it’s comfortable, be it a parked car, under your desk or a chair. For some, a quiet, dark place may be necessary but for others a subway or airplane seat works just as well. One tip: If you’re trying to stick to a short nap it may help to be partially upright. Studies have found that if you lie supine you’re more apt to fall into a deeper sleep.

4. Napping is a no-no if you suffer from a sleep disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea. It will only make the disorders worse.

5. Catch yourself dreaming during a short power nap? That’s a sign that you’re sleep deprived because you’re quickly slipping into rapid eye movement sleep, which is supposed to be the final stage of the roughly 90-minute sleep cycle. Try getting more sleep at night.

6. Finally, don’t use napping as a substitute for getting a full night’s sleep. In an ideal world where everyone gets adequate sleep at night and wakes up well rested, napping shouldn’t really be needed at all.

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